Friday, September 27, 2013

150 Mile Summer- Part 3

I remember being a young mother sitting in the living room of our student apartment over ten years ago. As my two small children tinkered there in front of me with Legos and plastic kitchen food, I wondered if I would ever have anything wise to say to them. Aren't children supposed to grow up and think back on some simple, but powerful, bit of wisdom they learned from their mother--something Mom always used to say? 

Would I ever say anything wiser than "never put play dough up your nose?"

It was a few weeks ago when I turned around to see Sophia struggling up the mountainside behind me. Her head was bent down in hopelessness and she was laboring over every step. It was a steep climb and we had been at it for a good while. The hot sun reflecting off the rocks around us settled oppressively on Sophia, adding extra weight to what was already the difficult task of moving forward.

Sophia is not usually one to complain while hiking. In fact, she usually leads the pack. But the trail to Snow Lake had her just about beat. Nothing in her posture reflected momentum or purpose. It was draining just to watch her.

"Go forward with purpose," I heard myself say to my daughter.

Go forward with purpose? Where did those words come from? They sounded sort of...wise, which immediately made me doubt they came from my mouth.

With Sophia plodding up only a few feet at a time between water breaks, I had plenty of time to consider the idea that just maybe our 150 mile summer would turn into the kind of memory I had hoped. Something our children could look back on and find real growth- wisdom even. And all at once in my mind came this collage of sage advice that somehow mysteriously escaped my mouth at one point or another this summer--

We can do hard things.
Hard things are always easier with a smile.
Go forward with purpose.
Stick to it. Follow through.

Weird. I'm pretty sure it was only yesterday I told someone not to stick play dough up her nose--I'm not talking about Lyla, either.

And if my children don't immediately appreciate all that wisdom and the persuasive family experiences that went along with it, they can someday read them here. When they do, I hope it will all come back to them and be magnified.

I can't end this three-part series about our 150 161 mile summer without sharing two noteworthy traditions attached to our family hikes. The first is turning on The Vinyl Cafe for some great stories on the ride home. If Stuart McLean hasn't told his way to the end of Dave and Morley's latest shenanigan by the time we pull in the driveway, we all sit there and stare at the garage door until he has. Our family loves good storytelling.

The second tradition sometimes serves as a slight distraction from the first, as each of us tries to stifle the noise of our growling stomachs. No matter how many snacks we snarf down along the trail, we inevitably get back in the car absolutely famished. 

The kids got so hungry on the way down from Cooper Lake that by the time they reached the car, they had a pretty catchy chorus going.

Gotta love the "you're out of tune" Beau manages to squeeze in at the very end.

I'm grateful for the opportunity to build memories and grow "wiser" with my children. Sometimes I wonder who's raising whom.

Click here and here for more about our 150 mile summer.

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